The number of students in the summer feeding program at Boaz City Schools has more than doubled since it started. Now, the school district wants to feed even more students.
Brandy Tarvin, Child Nutrition Program Director, tells WAAY 31 250 children, all 18 and younger, received free meals last summer as part of the program. They expect to at least hit the same mark this year, if not more.
"We're so glad to be back, because now we can eat again," Tarvin said.
Those are the words she hears when some students return to Boaz City Schools each year. Tarvin leads the summer feeding program, a program that's been around for 18 years, and growing ever since. Last summer, Tarvin says they served 8,000 meals.
"Eight thousand meals that the child might not have had anything to eat at home," Tarvin said.
Any child regardless of financial status, school affiliation or where they live, can receive a free breakfast and lunch starting Monday at Boaz Elementary School. The meals will be available starting June 3rd and ending July 19th. The program will be closed from July 1st to July 5th.
Jillian Cheeks is a parent and says programs like this say a lot about the area.
"It speaks to humanity and the compassion of our county. We care about ours and take care of ours,” Cheeks said.
The Boaz City School System says almost 70% of current students qualify for free or reduced meals.
"It's a blessing that we are able to provide that through the school system. I feel like it's just concerning a little bit that the numbers are so high," Cheeks said.
Tarvin says the growth is not a concern. The school system has been trying to find ways to reach out to more people. They want to serve as many children as possible, making sure no child is hungry this summer.
If you are interested, contact the Boaz Elementary cafeteria at 256-593-3511. For more information on the program, contact the Boaz City Schools System Child Nutrition Department at 256-593-8180.
Along with Boaz, Albertville and Marshall County schools are also opening their own summer feeding programs on Monday, June 3rd.